TAMPA BAY (3-7) -3.5 vs. San Francisco (2-8)
Ryan Fitzpatrick was so bad last week that the Bucs had to give the ball back to Jameis Winston. Ironically, Jameis Winston was so bad in week 8 the Bucs had to give the ball back to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even more ironically, Fitzpatrick was so bad in week 4 that the Bucs gave the ball to Jameis Winston. If you combine the stats of Tampa’s two-headed QB monster, they have 23 interceptions. This is nine more than Jets’ QB Sam Darnold who leads the league in INTs. To give them some credit, they do have 25 TDs between them which would put them 5th on the list of league leaders. Not enough to overcome all the INTs though.
PICK: San Francisco +3.5
3 Fireball Shots
CAROLINA (6-4) -3.5 vs. Seattle (5-5)
Seattle leads the league in rushing offense averaging more than 150 yards per game. Carolina’s run defense is 7th in the league, allowing only 98.5 yards per game. However, aside from the Cowboys (3rd in rushing ypg), the Panthers have only faced one rushing offense ranked in the top 15 (Redskins – 11th). They have benefitted from facing seven of the bottom nine in rushing yards per game. So, the high-powered Seahawks ground game may be slowed by the Panthers, but not enough to control the game. Carolina is great at home, so I expect them to pull out a very close victory but the Seahawks will get the cover.
PICK: Seattle +3.5
1 Fireball Shot
PHILADELPHIA (4-6) -6.5 vs. NY Giants (3-7)
2 wins down, 6 to go. The Giants improbable 2-game win streak and the mediocrity of the NFC East has kept the Giants slim playoff hopes alive. When the Giants win this game, they will be 4-7, tied with the Eagles and 2 games back of the Cowboys and Redskins. This division is terrible.
PICK: NY Giants +6.5
3 Fireball Shots
BALTIMORE (5-5) -10.5 vs. Oakland (2-8)
Lamar Jackson gets his second start for the Ravens, the first a close win vs Cincinnati last week. The Raiders won their second game of the season last week beating Arizona on a last second field goal. Baltimore is ok, Oakland is bad. But still, 10.5 is too many points.
PICK: Oakland +10.5
1 Fireball Shot
CINCINNATI (5-5) -3.5 vs. Cleveland (3-6-1)
Without AJ Green, the Bengals have struggled to move the ball and score points. AJ Green is again out this week. Cincinnati brought in former Cleveland Browns head coach as a special assistant to Marvin Lewis.
New shirts for the Bengals coaching staff
A major factor in this decision was how great Hue was at making the Brown’s lose during his tenure there. The Browns will relish the opportunity to rid themselves of the stink of Hue Jackson. I wouldn’t be surprised if interim head coach Greg Williams has a bounty on a Hue Jackson sideline hit. Either way, Browns are more talented than the Bengals right now and they need to win to hang to a small glimmer of hope to make the playoffs.
PICK: Cleveland +3.5
2 Fireball Shots
Jacksonville (3-7) -3.5 at BUFFALO (3-7)
I spent 15 minutes looking for an edge to hand out in this game. Things I found out:
Josh Allen is coming back! The Matt Barkley Era closes undefeated!
Statistical analysis of the Bills doesn’t help. They’ve had zero consistency in their personnel.
These teams are 8-8 in their history. They’re 4-4 in Buffalo. Nothing to learn
Their last game was in the playoffs last year. I forgot how far these teams have fallen
Weather forecast is 38 and overcast, or as they’re calling it in Buffalo, summer.
The money is slightly favoring the Bills.
I got a thank you note from the league for clicking on more links related to this game than anybody else (7).
I hate myself for wasting this much time.
I guess you roll with the points in this game. It’s like Global Thermonuclear War from the movie War Games.
1 Fireball shot
New England (7-3) -9.5 at NY JETS (3-7)
In my memory this series is close. My memory is a dirty stinking liar. The last time the Jets beat the Pats in regulation was in 2011. They are 2-12 in the last 14 games, with the two wins coming in OT. That said, the Pats are 3-2 in their last 5 games in NY, and wouldn't have covered the 9.5 in any of them.
It’s Josh McCown for the Jets. The line moved to 13 when the Jets announced Darnold would sit out with a foot injury. (The Patriots D did get dropped by every fantasy player looking to vulture the 2+ interceptions.) Gronk is back. That’s not the story. The story is that the Jets are terrible.
1 Fireball shot
LA CHARGERS (7-3) -11.5 vs Arizona (2-8)
The Chargers have a 2-game lead in the wild card race. This is a bad thing for the Chargers to know. They have a knack for making things as difficult as possible for themselves. We’d say they make things hard for their fans, but we all know. No fans.
Even though they blew it against the Broncos last week, they’re going to put this one away, boa constrictor style. You’ll look up and it’s 14-3 with 6 minutes left in the first half, but it feels like 28-0. You’re going to have to look fast though. No self-respecting establishment will have this game on TV.
1 Fireball shot
INDIANAPOLIS (5-5) -10.5 vs Miami (5-5)
Today’s headline: Tannehill Will Play Without Limitations at Indy. (https://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/miami-s-tannehill-will-play-without-limitations-at-indy-112318)
Is this good? It must mean “aside from his historical limitations as an NFL quarterback”? Other bright spot for the Miami is that OT Laremy Tunsil is back after a foot injury, and he’s the dude that gave us all this idea right before the NFL draft (and cost himself a couple million in the process)
Miami has a bunch of players coming back from injury, and the Colts have been flying just a bit too close to the sun these days. Andrew Luck hasn't been hit since week 5. The line has been playing well, but that’s an anomaly. Those 5 games have been against the Jets, Bills, Raiders, Jaguars, Titans. All of those teams are in the bottom 12 of the league in sacks. Miami is right there with those teams, ranked 29th, so they won't exactly be in Luck’s face all day.
But we think they’ll do enough to keep it close
2 Fireball shots
Pittsburgh (7-2-1) -3.5 vs DENVER (4-6)
The Broncos kind of have the Steelers number. 19-11 all time, and 12-5 at home. One of those home wins was when Tebow hit Thomas for an 80 yard score on the first play of OT in the wild card game back in 2012. Steelers still really haven't gotten over that.
Nobody’s told the Broncos that they’re out of contention, and they played well enough to beat the Chargers last week. Case Keenum’s post-game quote was “We know how good we are.” That’s a statement with multiple interpretations for sure, but this game has “take the points” written all over it.
3 Fireball shots!
MINNESOTA (5-4-1) -3.5 vs Green Bay (4-5-1)
The best part about writing this blog is that you find all of the local sites making predictions about their home team. Green Bay and Minnesota are about the best. Fan loyalty in the Midwest is the most rabid, but it’s balanced with the “aw, shucks” realization that their teams are fatally flawed. Here are predictions I found for this game. The names of these sites are priceless.
LombardiAve.com: Vikings 27-20; Packers 31-28; Vikings 27-24
Acmepackingcompany.com: 6 picks on Minnesota, 6 on Packers
DailyNorseman.com: Vikings 27-20
PurplePTSD.com: Vikings 24-20
BTW, the money is pretty one-sided on the Packers. Gotta be the “Aaron Rodgers in primetime” story, because we just don't see it. The Packers are 0-5 on the road, and you throw out their 1-0-1 start (beat Bears when the Bears threw up all over themselves and tied Minnesota in GB), and their wins have come against Buffalo, San Francisco, and Miami. Um, yeah.
Normally we’d take the hook and call it a close game, but not tonight. Even the Packers fan sites are leaning Minnesota, which in the Midwest means you’re too darn nice to say what you really think.
2 Fireball shots
HOUSTON (7-3) -4.5 vs Tennessee (5-5)
Houston’s winning streak will continue. Their defense (6th in ypg) will control the game against Tennessee (30th in offense). They can't help it if they play lousy teams. We called shotgun on the Houston Bandwagon back in week 8, saying that they could be 12-4 or even 13-3 come playoff time. They may be favored in every game left in the season.
3 Fireball Shots!